Thank you for your concern regarding the recent earthquake in Baja California. The buildings shook a bit but everything is fine at Sanoviv.
This website will be going into a hiatus while I am engaged in a major project; one that I am very excited about but which will be taking 100% of my time. I will be resuming the blog as time becomes available.
The dimensions of the tragedy in Haiti are almost beyond belief, but there is no time to stop and wonder how such a disaster could happen. I urge you to do what you can to support Dave Phillips and the Children’s Hunger Fund.
I have been proud to partner with Dave in helping children in need around the world. He has already diverted 1800 food packs from the Dominican Republic to Haiti, aid that was funded in part by USANA Associates. They also had four air containers of food packs and water ready to ship from San Antonio yesterday.
I can assure you that every dollar you contribute to CHF will be used in the most effective and productive way.
Please read the letter below from Dave Phillips.
Dear Dr. Wentz,
By now, I’m sure that you’ve heard about the earthquake in Haiti and are looking for a way to help. Here is an opportunity for churches in the United States to be the extended hand of God to those in extreme need. Let the church become a clear testimony of God’s love, care, and concern for the world. Please help us to help them.
Earthquake Terror Strikes The Poorest Of The Poor
I am contacting you in response to the earthquake that happened yesterday in Haiti. I ask that your church would consider giving toward CHF’s efforts to bring help and hope to the children and families suffering in the wake of this disaster.
At this hour, the children and families of Port-au-Prince, Haiti are in misery. Late yesterday, a massive 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit the city flattening homes, hospitals, and government buildings. Haiti is the poorest and most underdeveloped nation in the entire western hemisphere, so this tragedy is being experienced by the poorest of the poor. You have read the news, so you know the devastation is everywhere.
By God’s grace, we just finished training the Pastors and ministry volunteers who will make up our brand new Mercy Network in Haiti and the Dominican Republic (DR). These churches are well established in the impacted areas and are ready to mobilize in an effort to respond to the devastation. The food we sent them last month just arrived on Wednesday. That means that if this earthquake had happened last week, CHF would not have had an opportunity to provide direct help so quickly. Instead of being used in our planned distributions, we have released all of the Food Packs on board (1,800 in all) to be used to make immediate impact in relieving the current suffering.
Here’s how I hope you will help:
Our goal is to provide a minimum of 10 sea-containers full of aid that will enable the churches there to set up feeding centers for the ongoing recovery. For that we would need $60,000 for freight costs and at least an additional $40,000 to provide on-the-ground distribution. We will also need large donations of useful products. Would your church consider making a commitment to help us in one of the following ways?
- Ask your congregation to support the local churches in Haiti/DR with an Emergency Offering to CHF.
- Spend time in prayer for the churches in Haiti during your services this weekend.
- Give an emergency gift from your missions fund.
- Post an opportunity to give in your church bulletin this coming weekend.
Another way you could help would be to put us in contact with any church members who have access to products in their corporations. We have built many strong relationships with companies through the faithful support of church members who can make product donation decisions. Right now we anticipate needs for canned, ready-to-eat food, water, blankets, tarps, hygiene items, first aid, and cooking implements.
As you know, CHF is known as one of the most cost-effective charities in America. With 99% of all revenue going to programs serving children in need, you can be certain that your gift will be used with integrity. You also have the confidence of knowing that we are working with a trustworthy network of pastors and ministry leaders who have been established in Haiti for eighteen years. It is because of this trusted network that we are working so feverishly to help. We know their efforts will be widespread and effective.
If you can help us in these ways, please email me back or call me at 818.899.5122 x208.
Thank you for your compassion and help as we serve the needs of the children and families devastated by this disaster in Haiti. Let us glorify God by providing assistance to those who are suffering right now.
Children’s Hunger Fund
In recent postings I’ve made reference to the work of Dr. Michael Holick, whom I consider the world’s top authority on vitamin D. He discovered the active form of vitamin D and led the research team that determined in the mid-90s that humans have the ability to make activated vitamin D throughout the body. Until then it was thought that the body’s entire supply of activated vitamin D was synthesized in the liver. Perhaps the most important discovery, however, was that the cells in the skin produced vitamin D after exposure to radiation from the sun.
Just this past May Dr. Holick was awarded the Linus Pauling Institute Prize for Health Research. His work over the years on vitamin D—the sunshine vitamin—has provided many other awards and honors, from such organizations as the American College of Nutrition, the American Skin Association, and the American Society for Clinical Nutrition, and including the Linus Pauling Functional Medicine Award from the Institute for Functional Medicine.
In 2004 he published a book, The UV Advantage, that advocated that we all get at least 15 minutes or more of full sun exposure—no sunscreen—several times a week.
This advice was at odds with the medical profession’s consensus on the damaging effects of the sun’s rays. Dermatologists had been warning the public for years to always stay out of the sun, or lather on sunscreen, because sunlight was the cause of melanoma, as well as less deadly forms of skin cancer. Disagreeing with the medical establishment is not often a good move politically, even if you are a leader in your field. Dr. Holick was fired from his post in the dermatology department of Boston University. Dr. Barbara Gilchrest, the department chairwoman, said Dr. Holick’s book was “an embarrassment for this institution and an embarrassment for him.” This was cheered by most of the dermatology hierarchy in the U.S.
I admire Professor Holick for being a goodscientist and commend him for being undeterred in his efforts to let everyone know that we need much more vitamin D than we can get from foods, and that prudent sunlight exposure, as well as supplements, really is needed for optimal health. He has worked tirelessly to get the word out that any hazards presented by moderate exposure to the sun are far outweighed by the multitude of health benefits. Thank you, Michael.
In a recent post on vitamin D I referred to the “sun deficient zones” of the earth, which are the areas farther from the equator in which people do not get enough sun during winter months to produce the needed amounts of vitamin D from their skin. I may have confused some of you when I defined the “sun deficient zone” as being outside the latitudes of 37 degrees from the equator. Let me try and explain it better.
Visualize a line running east and west across the U.S. roughly from San Francisco to Las Vegas, St Louis and on to Washington DC. If you live north of this line, in cities such as Chicago, Toronto and New York, you are in the “sun deficient zone” and are at risk for all the vitamin D-preventable diseases I mentioned in a previous blog.
In Asia this line runs just north of Tokyo and Seoul, so Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore all have healthy sun all year round. In the southern hemisphere, visualize a line running through Melbourne and Auckland. All the areas north of this line are in what we might call the “sun-sufficient” zone. Therefore most of New Zealand is in the sun deficient zone whereas Australia is not.
Virtually all of Europe is sun deficient in winter. Even sunny Italy and Greece are located where there is not enough sun in the winter months to produce adequate vitamin D. In contrast, virtually all of South America and all of Africa are in the sun-safe zone all year.
Proper sun exposure is so important. My guideline is approximately 20 minutes in midday sun most days of the week when you are in a sun-sufficient zone. For more information on sun exposures, see the Safe Sun Tables in Dr. Michael Holick’s book, The UV Advantage. He also discusses the effects of other factors, such as skin type, time of day, etc.
Although the consequences of vitamin D deficiency are extensive, it’s hard to know if you are deficient. It’s been said that if you press on your sternum (breastbone) and it hurts, you may be suffering from a vitamin D deficiency, but otherwise you need laboratory testing to determine what your blood levels are. Becoming deficient in vitamin D happens slowly, and recovery comes slowly, which is another reason why daily supplementation is important, especially if you live in a “sun deficient” zone.
As I promised, here are more study results confirming that sun deprivation increases the risk of degenerative disease.
1. Multiple sclerosis is about five times more likely to affect you if you live in North America or Europe compared with the tropics.
2. Diabetes is very rare in equatorial regions, while Finland has the world’s highest incidence.
3. The cancer death rate is 150 percent greater in people living in high latitudes than in the tropics.
Sun deficient zone 3 2 12/4/2009
At this time of year, ever since I was a kid, I’m saddened with the diminishing daylight that each day brings. No matter how well you understand that it’s just the cycle of seasons, and that the days will begin lengthening again soon, you still hate to see the sun go.
But it is also the time of year when an important source of vitamin D goes away. I’ve spoken of the benefits of vitamin D before, but the winter season is when it’s even more important to make sure you are getting enough.
Today medical research is discovering more and more functions of vitamin D in the human body, every one of them critical for optimal health. For example, vitamin D regulates blood levels of essential minerals such as phosphorus and calcium; it regulates the parathyroid gland, which controls the activity of bone tissue; it is essential to our immune system, plays a role in preventing high blood pressure, and protects against a wide range of diseases, from several forms of cancer to diabetes to multiple sclerosis. One authority estimates that lack of sunshine—and the consequent reduced production of vitamin D—leads to nearly one million deaths per year around the world, 600,000 of those deaths from cancer alone. Many, many times more than caused by the H1N1 swine flu.
I agree with Dr. Michael Holick, when he says that vitamin D deficiency may be today’s real epidemic. Vast numbers of people are suffering from significant deficiencies of vitamin D. An estimated one billion people around the world have vitamin D deficiency. The rates of deficiency are especially high in the elderly in industrialized countries. According to several studies, 40 to 100% of U.S. and European men and women over 65 are deficient in vitamin D.1
To make matters even worse, we know that it’s not easy to obtain your vitamin D needs from your diet. Very little vitamin D is naturally present in our food. While oily fish and mushrooms are among the best sources and many foods in the U.S., such as orange juice and breakfast cereals, are fortified with vitamin D, most of us get 90 to 95% of our vitamin D requirement from our skin, when we are exposed to the sun.2
A misplaced fear of sun exposure has been responsible for untold illness and suffering. However, even if we get over being frightened of the sun’s rays, the cells in the dermis and epidermis will absorb sufficient ultraviolet B radiation to convert cholesterol into precursors of vitamin D only when the sun’s intensity is at a certain level. It may sound unfair, but in order to produce vitamin D we need to be out in the direct sun in the middle of the day on the right part of the earth at the right time of year.
The bottom line is that everyone who lives more than 37 degrees latitude north or south of the equator is at risk of vitamin D deficiency in the winter months. Look at a map to see if you’re in ‘sun deficient’ zone. So, with the sunshine in the other hemisphere, and only a few good sources of vitamin D in food, we are left with—you guessed it—supplementation.
Nutrition authorities recently raised the recommended level of vitamin D and are likely to raise it further in the near future. Today a blood level of over 30 ng/mL is considered to be just sufficient, and a daily intake of 800 to 1,000 IU is required to achieve that borderline level. We now believe that an optimal blood level is around double that.
Largely due to today’s busy lifestyles, along with avoiding the midday sun, overuse of sunscreens and living too far from the equator, most of us need to supplement with vitamin D all year-round, with increased amounts in the winter months. A tiny 2000 IU tablet of vitamin D is now available from USANA, the ideal amount for winter supplementation.
There’s a new interest in the benefits of vitamin D, and clinical study results are rolling in, which I will be reporting to you. Here’s one: Post-menopausal women who increase their vitamin D intake by 1,100 IU per day reduce their relative risk of cancer by 60 to 77%3. Wow.
1 Holick MF Vitamin D Deficiency p. 267 N Engl J Med. 357:266-81. 2007.
2 Holick, MF The Vitamin D Epidemic and its Health Consequences. J. Nutr. 135:2739S-2748S. 2005.
3 Holick MF Vitamin D Deficiency p. 278 N Engl J Med. 357:266-81. 2007
If you haven’t already heard about the switch to the new compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), you soon will. That’s because everyone—every business and private residence, as well as schools and government offices in the U.S.—will soon be required to exchange their incandescent lighting for CFLs.
The last half of the 20th century could be called ‘the Fluorescent Age.’ No illustration of the modern day workplace would be complete without the ubiquitous rows and panels of fluorescent lights that covered virtually every ceiling in every office or shop across the industrial world. Meanwhile, in more private and comfortable places, such as homes and restaurants, incandescent tungsten lighting remained the light source of choice.
Today, however, millions of the incandescent bulbs are being replaced in the guise of saving electrical energy and, subsequently, the future of the planet. Almost no one ever said they found fluorescent lighting more pleasant, for it simply doesn’t provide the full spectrum of light we get from the sun. But from the beginning it consumed less electrical energy and thus was a less expensive way to light an area. And now, to drive the demand for electrical energy down further, governments, including the U.S. Federal government and the European Union, have banded together to try to eliminate the incandescent lamp altogether. In the U.S., Congress has passed legislation that leaves you no choice: it mandates the phase-out of conventional incandescent bulbs starting in 2012, as part of initiatives to reduce global warming.
But there is resistance to total conversion to fluorescent lighting. And with good reason. Fluorescent lighting has proven to be unhealthy. The light emitted can pose serious problems to those with certain health conditions such as Lupus. For those people with Irlen syndrome, also known as Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, the flicker of fluorescent lighting results in a form of dyslexia, preventing them from processing visual information properly. Among other health problems that fluorescents pose are migraine headaches and skin conditions. A study in The Lancet, the leading British medical journal, found that working under fluorescent lights doubled the risk of melanoma.
Fortunately, these disorders seem to affect a small portion of the population, and many of them can be alleviated with filters and other adustments. But the worst aspect of fluorescent lighting—one that potentially affects all of us—is the fact that every fluorescent lamp contains what I regard as the most toxic element on earth—mercury. Fluorescent lighting is produced by an electrical current changing liquid mercury into a gas. When the excited mercury atoms return to their original energy level they release photons, producing light. The energy emanating from the mercury exchange in the lamps has a negative effect on the body. Kinesiologists understand why we are weakened when we are underneath fluorescent light.
Each compact fluorescent lamp contains about 5 mg of mercury, which when replacing billions of lamps all around the world will account for many tons of additional mercury being introduced to the environment. And mercury is not degradable; it never goes away. It cycles through the environment, poisoning all forms of plant and animal life.
Then there are the hazards of disposal, especially if you drop one and it breaks. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends a 19-step procedure to safely clean up while making sure you don’t release mercury into the environment (http://www.epa.gov/mercury/spills/index.htm). Please read it.
What government and industry should be doing is not banning older technology, but promoting the development and implementation of new technology that will give us healthier, more efficient, and safer lighting. The type of lighting that will achieve that is not fluorescent bulbs of any configuration. The best choice in my opinion, may be light-emitting diode (LED) technology.
This newer technology is undergoing very rapid development, and it won’t be long before LEDs will be able to replace both incandescents and fluorescents in all lighting applications. In fact, there is already a small town in Italy—Torraca—that is totally illuminated by LEDs. Even the streetlights are 54 LEDs bundled together into each lamp. The Bird’s Nest stadium, made famous around the world during the Beijing Olympic Games, is also lit by LEDs. I know of a new airplane that is lit—interior and exterior—exclusively by LEDs.
According to my calculations, replacing incandescents and fluorescents with LEDs could save nearly $2 trillion in energy costs globally over the next decade and eliminate the need for as many as 300 thousand-megawatt power plants. And it would prevent the introduction of more than 50 tons of mercury into the environment, both by reduction of power plant emissions and the elimination of mining and refining of mercury for the manufacture of fluorescent lamps.
We’ve known how essential sunlight is to health for a long time, but it’s been only in the last ten years that researchers have been studying how LEDs affect health. With sponsors such as NASA and the U.S. Navy, we are learning that LEDs have powerful positive effects on wound healing and cancer therapy, even restoring sight to experimentally-blinded laboratory animals. The reason why LEDs should be our first choice for lighting is that it is capable of producing virtually the same quality of light as the sun. To have ‘full-spectrum’ man-made light where we don’t have natural sunlight would have dramatic, positive effects on the health of the world. And there are other important advantages. The average lifetime of an incandescent lamp is 2 years, and a CFL 5 years, but LED’s have an average lifetime of 25 years. LEDs are the most efficient and have the lowest running temperatures of any lighting available today.
The technology doesn’t stop there. Next up are OLEDs, organic light-emitting diodes, that emit light in all directions and which can be manufactured in sheets to serve as ceiling panels or even windows. They promise to be even more efficient at producing light. Now that’s the kind of technology that governments should be encouraging and supporting.
This government-mandated move to total fluorescent lighting by 2012 will save some energy, but its cost to the health of humans, plants, animals and birds is potentially devastating. Incandescent lighting has served us well for over a hundred years. Thank you, Thomas Edison. My advice is to not change from that technology until we have a better alternative. Compact fluorescent lighting certainly is not it.
I want to thank everyone for the great response we’ve had to this Web site. Your comments and questions have been both interesting and informative. My time and schedule, unfortunately, does not allow me to answer all your wonderful questions, so I need to discontinue the “Ask a Question” feature at this time. I will continue to read all of the comments posted to this Web site.
If you have a medical question, please go to Sanoviv’s Web site, www.sanoviv.com, and click on the “Speak to a Doctor” link.
In my most recent post I suggested that anyone who had chosen to or was required to receive a vaccination for the H1N1 swine flu should be sure that they are vaccinated with the nasal mist form rather than the injectable form. The nose is the natural route to vaccinate for a respiratory infection and the nasal mist form of the vaccine is free of mercury-containing thimerosal.
I have heard that public health officials in Washington State, as part of their efforts to deal with H1N1 swine flu, have announced that they are suspending their restrictions on how much mercury can be injected into pregnant women or children under three years of age. Washington state law normally limits the amount of mercury that can be in vaccines for pregnant women and children under three. But now they say that for the next six months it’s okay for these patients to be exposed to the higher levels of mercury found in injectable swine flu vaccine.
This makes absolutely no sense to me. Why wasn’t this new advice for pregnant women and small children to receive flu vaccinations accompanied by a stipulation that it must be the thimerosal-free nasal mist that is administered, not the injectable vaccine? For that matter, why isn’t the CDC suggesting such a step be taken on a national scale?
I’ve heard that the nasal mist form may not be as immunogenic as the injectable vaccine. That is, it doesn’t stimulate as vigorous a response by the immune system. But we are talking about a population group—the unborn and infants—in which the nervous system is still in a critical state of development. All toxics—such as mercury—in the pregnant mother’s body accumulate and are concentrated in the fetus. In addition, developing tissues and organs in the fetus are more susceptible to damage by toxics than the mother.
We showed wisdom in limiting the amounts of certain kinds of fish that pregnant women should consume because of the dangers of mercury toxicity for nervous system development in the fetus. Why should we abandon such valuable precautions, especially when an alternative is available?
No one has really identified a threshold dose at which mercury can be problematic for tiny fetuses. My opinion is there is no amount of this poison that is acceptable. As Tom Burbacher, a professor of environmental occupational health at the University of Washington told Newsweek magazine, “We still don’t have enough data to say how long . . . mercury stays in the brain, but if you can reduce or eliminate your baby’s exposure, why wouldn’t you do that?” Why, indeed?
I am hopeful that after decades of manufacturing vaccines, we finally have the ability to develop vaccines that provide a measurable benefit to offset all the negative effects of injectable vaccines. Today’s mercury-free nasal mist may be the advance we’ve been looking for all these years. Let’s hope.
This issue is larger than the current flu epidemic, which will pass within months, and larger than the vaccination controversy, which will go on longer. It’s about the human right to make informed, voluntary health care choices, a right that we must fight for today so our children and grandchildren will have it in the future. A wealth of information on how that right is being threatened, and an insightful spokesperson for how we can defend ourselves can be found here: http://www.nvic.org/default.aspx. Please go to it.
Note: While I personally will not get a flu vaccination, my position on this issue is personal. Each person must make an informed decision for themselves and their family. What is most important is that you obtain the best information on both sides of the issue, rather than following the dictates of the government or special interest groups.
Washington State Department of Health: www.doh.wa.gov/Publicat/2009_news/09-154.htm
Flu Vac Wash 1 10/23/2009
Hello, everyone. I’m glad to be back home again. Our visits to the Republic of China and Hong Kong were both pleasant and successful, with enthusiastic crowds and rewarding meetings with Associates. Travel to the Far East is always exciting and interesting, but I’m always glad to be back after weeks of living out of a suitcase.
When we first entered the Hong Kong market ten years ago I thought of how important it would be for USANA to be successful in a culture so different from the U.S. But it didn‘t take long for me to realize that the similarities among people all around the world are so much more important than the differences. Most important is the fact that we are all humans and the nutritional needs of the cells in our bodies are the same in humans everywhere on the earth.
The subject of the talks I gave was “A Nutritional Approach to Immunity,” a subject of great interest to me and—judging by the positive reception I received—clearly of interest to people in that part of the world. After all, most of the influenza viruses as well as SARS originated there. I lectured on the importance of the prerequisites of having the strongest immune system possible. Immune system maintenance can be easy with a healthy lifestyle and nutrition, and especially proper supplementation. I pointed out the false hopes and counseled caution on relying on vaccines and pharmaceuticals.
However, if you have personally decided to get vaccinated or are required to do so, I urge you to opt for the nasal mist rather than the injectable vaccine. The nasal mist is free of mercury-containing thimerosal and is the natural route for administering a vaccine for a respiratory virus.
We also spent time in Thailand. I have always had a special place in my heart for Thailand and its people. I was pleased to hear from Dave Phillips at the USANA International Convention that the Children’s Hunger Fund is expanding into Thailand. When I met with Dave he expressed his interest to—in addition to all that CHF already does—curb the trafficking and exploitation of children in Thailand. Having observed first-hand the success of CHF and its affiliates in Cambodia in influencing child exploitation there, I told Dave he had my pledge to do everything in my power to help in his effort.